Treasury warns boosting sanctions on Russian debt could hurt US

Treasury warns boosting sanctions on Russian debt could hurt US
© Keren Carrion

The Treasury Department warned Congress that ramping up financial sanctions on Russia could restrain the country’s economy and force action against the United States, according to a memo reported by Bloomberg.

The department wrote that increasing restrictions on financial trades involving Russian debt would lead to “Russian retaliation against U.S interests.”

"Expanding [U.S. sanctions] to include dealings in new Russian sovereign debt and the full range of related derivatives would likely raise borrowing costs for Russia,” department staff wrote, according to the memo.

The Treasury Department warned that further sanctions on new debt would “put downward pressure on Russian economic growth; destabilize financial markets,” and “increase strain on Russia’s banking sector.”

The department also said new sanctions could disadvantage U.S. investors against international counterparts because Russian debt is widely traded among other major international economies. The loss of business for U.S. investment firms could be mitigated by similar European Union sanctions to even the market, Treasury Department staff wrote.

“The magnitude and scope of consequences from expanding sanctions to sovereign debt and derivatives is uncertain and the effects could be born by both the Russian Federation and U.S investors and businesses.”

The memo was sent to Congress with a list released Tuesday of suspected financiers of Russia’s political and military actions against U.S. interests. The list of roughly 200 Russian oligarchs and the memo were both mandated by an August law boosting financial sanctions on Russia.

The release of the memo and list without additional sanctions on Russia enraged Democrats who suspect subversive relationship between President TrumpDonald John TrumpTed Cruz knocks New York Times for 'stunning' correction on Kavanaugh report US service member killed in Afghanistan Pro-Trump website edited British reality star's picture to show him wearing Trump hat MORE and the Russian government. It also raised concerns among Republicans who fear Russia’s increasing efforts to interfere with U.S. politics.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinIran: Rouhani, Trump won't meet at United Nations Trump denies reports he's willing to meet with Iran with 'no conditions' Turkey confirms delivery of second Russian anti-missile system MORE said Tuesday that the Trump administration will impose financial sanctions on dozens of wealthy Russians despite the president declining a congressional deadline to do so.